This paper is the result of empirical research funded by The British Academy. The overall purpose of the study is to investigate the initial barriers to internationalization experienced and perceived by small retailers based in the UK and the role of government support in addressing such obstacles.
A qualitative, multiple case research design is adopted. This involves semi‐structured in‐depth interviews with the senior manager/decision‐maker in six retail SMEs based in the UK and the analysis of company documentation and information from a range of secondary sources.
The findings from the case study data highlight internal and external barriers to internationalization relating to management: lack of vision, fear of losing control, lack of knowledge; the company: transfer of retail concept overseas, lack of resources, lack of consolidation in domestic market; and the external environment: legislation, currency, cultural differences and logistics. The findings also highlight an overall negative experience and perception of government support in assisting smaller retailers to overcome these barriers and aid expansion outside the UK.
The findings of this study provide important insight into the perceived and actual barriers encountered by retail SMEs. On one hand, the focus on SMEs provides fresh evidence to the retail internationalization literature, which has focused primarily on the barriers faced by large multinational retailers. On the other hand, the context of this study, yields new insight into research conducted in the field of SME internationalization, which has to date ignored smaller firms in the retail industry. The findings of this study also allow for recommendations to be made to both owner‐managers and government organizations.
Hutchinson, K., Fleck, E. and Lloyd‐Reason, L. (2009), "An investigation into the initial barriers to internationalization", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 544-568. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000911000910Download as .RIS
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